Sunday, July 3, 2011

Earl of Sandwich: Coming Soon & Calling Me Home

(photo credit: TheHopefulTraveler)
An up and coming competitor in the fast-food sandwich market is Earl of Sandwich. The Times Square billboard pictured above announcing the opening of its Midtown New York location also served as a sign calling me home as I made my way back to the hotel to pack for my morning flight back home to Hawaii.

The Earl of Sandwich shops pegs their niche in the market by connecting their food to the story about the sandwich. John Mantagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich (there has been eleven) is best known for the claim of inventing the modern concept of the sandwich. Though the subject is up for debate, Montagu would ask his servants to bring him slices of meat between two slices of bread when he was busy gambling. Because of his title, others would ask for the "same as Sandwich".

The Original 1762
(food photos:
The earl was a supporter of Captain James Cook's explorations. Many are unaware that when Cook first discovered the Hawaii in 1778, he named them the Sandwich Islands.

This history has influenced the shop's signature sandwiches. Among them include:
- The Original 1762 (the year the earl supposedly made his first sandwich): roasted beef, sharp cheddar and horseradish.
- The Earl's Club: roasted turkey smoked bacon, aged swiss, lettuce, tomatoes and sandwich sauce.
- The Full Montagu: roasted beef, turkey, aged swiss, sharp cheddar, lettuce, tomatoes and earl's mustard sauce.
- Hawaiian BBQ: grilled chicken, roasted hame, aged swiss, pineapples and Hawaiian BBQ sauce.

The Full Montegu
In addition to sandwiches, the chain also serves sandwiches, wraps, salads, desserts and a selection of breakfast dishes. The beverages menu include the Earl's Coffee (Kona blend coffee) and Earl's Grey Lemonade (infused with earl grey tea). The cutesy menu item names are used on a very limited basis.

Their newest New York shop will open at 1290 6th Avenue (West 52nd between 5th and 6th Avenues). A second location is at 90 John Street in lower Manhattan. It may be worth a visit to try one of their signature sandwiches on my next visit to New York City.

Hawaiian BBQ
Ironically the eatery was opened by Robert Earl (who has no relation to any of the Earls of Sandwich) in Florida in 2004. In a Fast Company article, he saw a product he could make quickly and sell for $5.99, a simple product for cash-strapped times, pegged to a novelty that raises it above whatever other generic shops are out there.

The company plans an expansion from its current 17 to 40 locations worldwide. In the United States, shops are also located in Nevada and Texas as well as various airport locations. International shops are found in Paris and London. Visit for more information.


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